Menispermum canadense L. - Moonseed

Menispermum canadense plant

Family - Menispermaceae

Stems - Thin, twining, woody below, dark maroon in color, young portions with some hair but becoming glabrous (glabrescent). No tendrils.

Leaves - Alternate, petiolate, peltate (look from below to see), with 3-7 broad, shallow lobes, margins entire, upper surface glabrous, lower surface silvery-green with some pubescence.

Menispermum canadense leafArrow shows peltate nature of leaf.

Menispermum canadense leaves

Inflorescence - Pendant clusters of 40 or so flowers from leaf axils. Staminate and pistillate clusters separate on same plant.

Menispermum canadense inflorescence

Flowers - Petals 4-8, 2-3mm long, whitish, ovate, glabrous. Stamens numerous(+15).Filaments white, glabrous, -4mm long. Anthers yellow, -1mm long.

Menispermum canadense flowersStaminate flowers.

Fruits - Drupes, indigo-black in color, somewhat glaucous, 6-7mm in diameter.

Flowering - May - July.

Habitat - Moist woods, thickets, fence rows.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - Although the plant and fruits may loosely resemble grapes, they should not be eaten as they are mildly toxic. The plant can climb to around 7m or so.

Photographs taken at the Kansas City Zoo, 6-26-99 and 5-30-00.

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